The Race To Zero campaign was launched by the UN on June 5th 2021 to build momentum around the shift to a decarbonised economy ahead of COP26. The aim is to get the ‘real economy’ actors including businesses, cities, regions, and investors to join 120 countries in the Climate Ambition Alliance, to create the largest ever alliance committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest.
To mark the two year anniversary and encourage businesses to sign up, CEMEX shares their story.
Why did you sign up to R2Z?
Climate action is the biggest challenge of our time. The magnitude of the Net Zero task is clear to the world following COP26, the most significant climate talks since the 2015 Paris Agreement. Now, more than ever, attention is being paid to climate change and the impact of different industries on carbon emissions.
We joined the United Nations’ “Race to Zero” campaign, and in November 2021 we became a founding member of the First Movers Coalition, an initiative of the World Economic Forum to create market demand for zero carbon solutions.
The next decade’s strong action will be critical to set the path towards 2050. We’re committed to leading the industry in climate action, not only because it creates value, but more importantly, because it is the right thing to do. CEMEX is building a better future, and that future must be net zero CO2.
What changes are you making as a result of establishing your net zero target aligning with R2Z? Are you seeing any results as yet?
At CEMEX, we have set our aggressive goals for enhancing the sustainability of our operations. CEMEX’s ‘Future In Action’ Climate Action strategy defines a global target to achieve 35% CO2 reduction by 2025 and 40% by 2030.
This new goal is validated to the well-below 2°C scenario of the Science-Based Targets initiative. In Europe, the target is a 55% reduction by 2030 and CEMEX is the first company in the sector to align to the EU’s aspiration to achieve this across all member states.
But it’s not just about setting the targets – we must take urgent action to achieve them and demonstrate that we take our commitments seriously.
At CEMEX, action has already resulted in CO2 emissions across our global portfolio reducing by 24.5% since 1990, and in Europe by around 35%.
Globally, we have already achieved a 28.5% alternative fuel substitution rate, with investment taking place across the business to improve this.
What are the biggest challenges you are experiencing in meeting your net zero commitments?
Our biggest challenge is collaboration – one industry working together effectively, continuously and successfully to tackle climate change.
It is no surprise that the cement and concrete industry has been in the frame as one of the most significant global contributors.
The more we do collectively as an industry, will result in a wider appreciation of the significant efforts made – and serve to inspire the value chain, locally and globally.
We hope progress will translate into a better perception of our industry – an acknowledgement that we have recognised the scale of the challenge and stepped up to the plate.
Cement, concrete and aggregates are a vital part of the crucial infrastructure that we use daily in housing, hospitals, roads and railways. Concrete is resilient and hard-wearing and can be recycled indefinitely whilst also reabsorbing CO2 during its lifetime. It is an efficient and sustainable building material that can continue to support the construction industry for many years to come.
How are you working with your supply chain to deliver your R2Z goals?
CEMEX, in collaboration with the cement and concrete industry, is continuing to work hard to reduce emissions. As proud members of the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA), together we are determined to meet the targets set out in our industry Roadmap to Net Zero.
In 2021, CEMEX, plus 40 members of the GCCA, affirmed commitments to Net Zero concrete by 2050 and agreed to an ambitious intermediate goal of preventing five billion tonnes of CO2 emissions by 2030.
The Carbon Neutral Alliance at CEMEX’s Rudersdorf cement plant in Germany is a visionary blueprint for a future carbon neutral cement plant with an aspiration to achieve it by 2030.
The alliance has several consortiums involving over 20 partners, looking at proven technologies such as alternative fuels, decarbonated raw materials, waste heat recovery and product technology, as well as pioneering new projects in carbon capture, beneficial utilisation and potential storage by 2025 to upscale by 2030.
How are you communicating decarbonisation goals within your business to bring employees on the journey?
CEMEX is committed to achieving carbon neutrality through relentless innovation and industry-leading research and development, which is brought to life across its global operations through a dedicated ‘Future In Action’ Climate Action strategic plan.
Recognizing that global climate action goals require stronger efforts, and ensuring sustainability is at the core of everything we do, we created Future in Action, to focus our entire organisation around a programme to develop low carbon products, solutions, and processes to become a net-zero CO2 company.
The objective is clearly communicated to everyone throughout the business regularly through internal communication updates and everyone plays a role in achieving carbon neutrality.
In order to reach our goals, we have set aggressive decarbonisation goals with a very specific roadmap to achieve them and working with external partners to validate and endorse our commitments.
Our ultimate goal is to deliver only net-zero CO2 concrete by 2050.
What has signing up to Race to Zero enabled you to do that you couldn’t do previously?
We believe it is important to set firm, structured targets to drive our sustainability efforts. Signing up to Race to Zero, plus the other industry and company targets we have committed to, focuses our activity and makes it clear to all our employees what we need to achieve, why we are striving for this, and when this needs to be done by.
It clearly demonstrates that this is an important priority for CEMEX and supports with employee engagement with our sustainability activity.
It has also enabled us to engage key external stakeholders who recognise that CEMEX that is a company that takes its responsibilities very seriously and is taking positive action now on its pathway to being a net zero concrete producer.